The Hot To Trot 8 Hour Run is an annual event sponsored by GUTS. This year, RD Sarah Tyne held the course at Sweetwater Creek State Park (Lithia Srings, GA). It consisted of a 1.18 mile loop, complete with tree roots, sand, rocks, 73-foot elevation gain, and sign-posting trail nymphs*.
The premise is simple, 60 runners run as many 1.18- mile loops as they can from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in 90+ degree heat with humidity off the charts. The race description from the GUTS web site says it all:
“At the Hot To Trot 8 Hour Race, our goal is to provide the race as advertised. As the name implies, you can count on it being HOT. Temps are easily in the 90's this time of year in Georgia, with humidity off the scale. Runners are expected to use proper electrolytes in order to stay alive!”
Here's how it all unfolded:
I planned to run the entire thing with Charles, and as it turned out, Charles was fighting a bacterial infection and was on antibiotics. Between the antibiotics, heat, humidity and the insane amount Charles sweats, I thought we might get in about 15 miles (maybe 10) before the paramedics would be called to insert an IV.
With thoughts of under achievement dancing through our heads, we arrived at the race at about 7:30 and made our way over to the picnic area that served as the start, finish, and aid station. It wasn't too long before I saw some familiar faces, and was introduced to some new friends.
Group Photo Op:
Charles, Psyche, Jason Rogers and Thomas Armbruster (Georgia Snail)
Spirits were high as we gathered at the start to listen to final instruction
And we're off...
We made our way over the berms and through the woods to a rocky stretch of fire road where I promptly... tripped and fell. On rocks. (Yes, it hurt). I liked the second half of the course much better. It proceeded along sandy single-track before crossing a wooden bridge and making a series of root-covered ascents, all of which I walked. A decent sized hill then brings you up to the restrooms and to the picnic area to start all over again.
As I started up the hill, this is what I saw:
It kind of set the tone for the day, as I really enjoy a good surprise, especially if it ends in a good laugh (which it did). Also, I feel quite confident that the pure evil of these particular sign-posting Trail Nymphs* is contained in their singular effort to destroy my BMF Trail Runner Rep.
Therefore, If I bring my "A" game to the next few races -and by "A" game I mean stay on trail and avoid Search & Rescue- it just may be enough to back these bad boys off.
As it turned out, the best thing about this race was all the really wonderful people I had the chance to meet. Along the way we ran 25 laps in 7:54 for a total of 29.5 miles. The mystery of how Charles ran stronger and stronger as the heat and humidity climbed will have to be solved another day.Final lap of the day...
We enjoyed a little game of cat and mouse with Orlando that left me hoping we'd see him again on the trail real soon.
BMF Trail Nymph (a.k.a. Jason Rogers)
Ultra super dudes Bill Keane (a.k.a. "most likely to blast 'Stairway To Heaven' on his way out of Laurel Valley) and Rob Apple.
So that was my weekend. Another one filled with some pretty cool accomplishments by an average girl who just can't seem to say no to a new adventure. I will say that my entire weekend was richer as a result of the company I held and a BIG THANK YOU goes out to Sarah Tyne, Tom Wilson, Kirsten the "ice lady", Kim Pike, Jason Rogers, Bill Keane, and especially Thomas and Holly Armbruster for turning an amazing weekend into an EPIC one.
* and by sign-posting Trail Nymphs I mean Charles and Jason.